Upfront costs could still affect summer students receiving Pell Grants


Albert G. / CC BY 2.0

Eligible students at Sacramento State will be allowed to use Pell Grants for the 2018 Summer Session. However, Pell Grant awards will not disburse until the financial aid office can confirm the student is enrolled in six units, including no deferment on fees.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz

Sacramento State’s 2018 summer session will allow eligible students to use Pell Grants for the first time, but students may have to pay the entire cost of tuition upfront due to a possible delayed disbursement.

According to the Sac State Division of Student Affairs website, Pell Grant awards will not disburse until the financial aid office can confirm the student is enrolled in six units, including no deferment on fees.

Since the summer schedule is divided into two sessions, a student who is Pell-eligible but only hits the six unit threshold in the second session will have to pay the cost of all units upfront before receiving the aid at the beginning of the second session, according to the Sac State Division of Student Affairs website.

The University is trying to accommodate struggling students, according to Jim Dragna, the executive director for initiatives and student success.

“We’re trying to modify this so that the students are not penalized for the fact that they may not have the money until the Pell Grant comes in,” Dragna said.

The stipulation is in place to help the logistics of hiring faculty for the summer courses, according to Dragna.

Oscar Rzodkiewicz – The State Hornet

Dragna also discussed other countermeasures Sac State is taking to help students, such as the Provost’s Summer Graduation Initiative Grant, which would apply before classes and, when combined with the Pell awards, potentially provide students with extra cash for living expenses.

The provost’s grant, however, would not completely fill the initial payment gap.

Dragna also said campus fees for the summer session have been reduced by $88 after considerations from services that require the fees, such as the University Union, the WELL and the ASI, according to the College of Continuing Education website.

Junior psychology major Melany Ponce said she’ll be receiving her financial aid on time due to her schedule, so it won’t affect her.

“I’m just taking (the classes) in the summer, so I can finish within the two years,” Ponce said.

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Dragna said Summer Session is a helpful tool for students to stay on track with the Finish in Four and Through in Two strategies.

Junior child development major Jacee Lempner said she plans to take summer classes to make graduation easier.

Lempner said she decided to register for Summer Session so she can “get ahead in units.”

“I’m supposed to graduate in spring (2019), so it will just make my semesters easier,” she said.

Dragna explained the Pell Grants are designed to help give students more financial options despite the disbursement issue.

“The whole idea, at least at this university and with our president and with our faculty and the colleges as well is we want to have these summer incentives there for the students to be able to use them and to be able to strategize as well about using their finances in order to be successful in using the summer,” Dragna said.

The Summer Session will run from May 29 to Aug. 19.